Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) and Global Ubuntu (GU) worked together for three years to support community dialogues on social issues and/or themes in communities throughout the state of Georgia. The aim of these Welcoming Community Dialogues was to create space for community members of differing backgrounds, races and abilities to discuss and dream of a society where everyone is treated with dignity and justice. Creating a welcoming community is a dream and journey that a community can take together; it is not a project and doesn’t have to be hard. Conversations can start over coffee or dinner simply by asking how we can create a fair and welcoming community for all.
Real Communities was a cutting-edge initiative launched state-wide in 2010 by the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities to partner with local groups working to build more equitable and just communities. It’s a thoughtful, action-learning approach that equips individuals at the local, grassroots level to work together toward common goals to improve their communities using person-centered supports, community-centered connections, and persistent, reflective learning. Purposefully involving people with and without developmental disabilities in collaborative projects is pivotal to the framework of Real Communities. Through this initiative, Global Ubuntu and GCDD supported communities to welcome and utilize everyone’s gifts, including those who have been historically marginalized, to create avenues toward reciprocity, interdependence, and social change. Key to our approach is the use of Asset Based Community Development (ABCD), principles which make use of already-existing resources in the community in a different and newly successful manner. Real Communities Partnerships strengthen social capacity and advocacy. These community efforts are centered around inspiring cultural change, practicing leadership, and creating social connectedness with and for people of all abilities.
Global Ubuntu managed the Real Communities Initiative and the Welcoming Community Dialogues for GCDD by providing administrative and financial support, technical assistance, training, and coaching to Real Communities Partnerships and Local Listening and Dialogue groups.
Global Ubuntu provides training and facilitates dialogues grounded in adult education and asset-based approaches. We help Georgia communities organize community conversations on issues that their groups feel strongly about. When we facilitate dialogues or host trainings, we listen to strong feelings and common themes in groups and communities. When people have strong feelings around an issue or theme, we recognize that they are motivated to act. We value creating safe spaces where people can share their knowledge and generate collective wisdom for their respective communities. This dialogue can be applied in a diverse range of circles, from governmental agencies, corporations and nonprofit organizations, schools, neighborhoods, and beyond. We follow-up dialogues and training with coaching to ensure that everyone meets their desired goals.